Guest blog by Joe Rodden, Sales Systems Manager at Catalant Technologies

It’s that time of year again. Days are getting shorter, nights are longer, and the holidays are right around the corner. With that comes a brand new year with changes on the horizon. In the six or seven years I’ve worked in sales operations, every year seems to have brought bigger and bigger changes, and I have no doubt that 2018 will be no different. I took some time to hear from fellow sales operators  about the biggest new trends and predictions for 2018 — here’s what they had to say.

Must Have vs. Nice to Have

Sales operations as a function is starting to gain more and more visibility in the business world. Startups and smaller businesses are hiring sales operations roles in the early stages of the company’s formation as the function is no longer seen as a “nice to have” but rather a requirement for the long term success of a business. Businesses understand the need for a designated role to help navigate and steer the sales organization in the right direction, and that’s where the sales operations team comes into play. This is a trend that will continue in 2018 and years to come.

Strategic Elevation

If businesses are looking at sales ops as a requirement for long term growth and success, they also need to elevate the role to handle more than just, well, sales operations. There’s an increasing trend of rebranding the function to Strategy, Business Operations, Growth Operations, or Revenue Operations. With this rebranding comes more consolidation of responsibilities, moving away from just assisting sales to really helping the organization as a whole run more smoothly. The productivity and effectiveness of sales impacts the whole organization so it seems natural that the operations team behind should as well. Along with the consolidation, there’s a rising trend that the “Operations” team reports directly to the C-level executive team. I think you’ll see more and more of us being the right hand of the leaders who help operationalize and execute the vision of the business.

AI Prevalence

I hear about AI everywhere: on the train, at work and in the news. There are a few tools out there that are using this term for their technology, though, none that I would really call true artificial intelligence. With that said, we’re going to see more and more AI technology rollout. The main obstacle I see to the current AI tools is they typically rely on your data to be useful, and can often come up with false positives due to process changes or bad data being entered into your systems. What I’d love to see is one tool coming fully pre-loaded with all the contact and account data you could possibly want, then taking in your win/loss data and sending your sales team off to the races. I for one welcome our robot overlords!

These are just a few I’ve heard around the sales ops community but I’d would love to hear more. So, as we head into 2018 what are your predictions for the future of sales operations?

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